Blog, Ideas & Inspiration

The Ultimate Guide to Hiring a Marquee – Part Two: Pole Tents

June 13, 2018

Welcome to the second installment of our ultimate guide to hiring a marquee. Last time around we introduced you to the modern and versatile frame tent – this edition focuses on the ever popular traditional pole marquee. 
If you missed part one (Where have you been by the way?) you can read it here

Traditional pole tents are the archetypal country fayre marquee. Full of character and ideal for those looking for a marquee with a relaxed, country vibe or shabby chic styling, pole tents are a perfect alternative to the slightly more formal frame tent marquee.

Traditional Pole TentsDid you know?
Inside Outside manufacture their own traditional canvas pole tents.

What sizes do traditional pole marquees come in?
Pole tents are where it all started – long before the metric system was introduced. As a result pole tents are measured in feet and inches as opposed to metres.
Inside Outside supply pole tents in 20ft, 30ft and 40ft widths and up to 175ft in length.

How tall is a traditional pole marquee?
Pole marquees are 7ft (2.1m) high at the walls but rise to 18ft (5.4m) at the apex of the roof.

Unlined Traditional Pole Marquee

Unlined Traditional Pole Marquee

Why choose a pole marquee?
There’s not a huge variation in cost between a pole tent and a frame tent . It often comes down to personal preference. Traditional pole marquees – as the name suggests, have the traditional, old fashioned vibe that many people envision when they think of a marquee. Where a frame tent provides a solid, blank canvas structure to which individual character and styling can be added, a pole tent brings character of its own. Because they are supported by poles and guy ropes and not the same internal metal structure that frame tents need, pole tents can be used without an internal lining which can provide a small cost saving versus a lined frame tent .

The poles certainly add character and charm, but as they sit along the central line of the marquee you’ll need to carefully consider the placement of dance floors and stages in relation to them. More information is available in the dance floors, DJ’s and bands section of this guide.

Traditional Pole Tent

Traditional Pole tent with pole on dancefloor

Pole tents lend themselves to festival style parties and weddings in fields. They look great with the walls opened up, dressed with bunting and floral displays around the central poles. They suit a simple coconut matting floor, or can go straight to grass with no flooring at all (but watch those high heels). Rustic tables, benches and chairs and a few bales of hay all work well in pole tents.

It’s worth noting that because pole tents are made from canvas they are breathable and therefore less susceptible to humidity than PVC frame tents.

Beware – Pole tents are seasonal
As traditional pole marquees are secured to the ground by guy ropes and held upright by tall central poles they are not ideal for use in high winds. Combine this with rain soaked ground into which their guy ropes have been affixed and you have a recipe for disaster. For these reasons Inside Outside do not recommend using pole marquees during the winter month (generally between October and May).

Key points

• Traditional, festival/country style marqueeTraditional Pole Marquee
• Can be used unlined
• Suits a simple, rustic look and feel
• Should not be used during the winter months for safety reasons
• Requires space around marquee for guy ropes
• Breathable canvas material
• Requires connecting awnings when attaching to other structures
• Central poles – a feature, but also an obstruction
• Lower wall heights versus frame tents

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